24 October, 2011

People of the WORD!

I love the internet - there is SO much at my fingertips, as far as good biblical teaching, sermons online, etc. SO many tables at which we can sit, & eat till we are stuffed & overfull, & equally as many outlets for evangelism & ministry.

But, there are also SO many dangers, so much opportunity to proliferate BAD teachings, & all in all, how much of this really aids the Body at large IF WE AREN'T ABIDING IN THE WORD!? There is a very real danger of harm, & the very real presence of spiritual enemies who wish to snatch the truth before we are able to receive it in the good soil of our hearts (cf Luke 8).

And having Twitter & FaceBook saturated attention spans really only continues to ERRODE our patience for careful examination, critical thought, & taking the time to prayerfully seek God's face that he might make HIMSELF known to us, so we aren't so easily tossed about (& often we do not know this is happening!) by every wind of doctrine.

A HELPFUL QUESTION: What is the "trend" of your sermon-listening/book-reading?​ How much of what you hear is SCRIPTURE saturated, and how much is the mere pontificating of this or that teacher/preacher?

In God's wisdom - as an anchor to our souls! - we are to measure & test all things by his WORD, to BE a people of BOOK! This does not mean powerless, spirit-less, merely academic analysis -

This "Book" was Spirit-authored, & our ability to receive it is Spirit-empowered, & our love & application OF it is Spirit-quickened!

If we are HIS, we LOVE his Word! What this does mean? We have, in this span of time from Christ's first coming until he comes again (& forever after!), the GLORIOUS privilege of fellowshipping WITH God & worshipping him in Spirit AND in Truth, such that God himself is our Teacher.

If you have a dark spot in your understanding, ask the Lord for revelation & diligently search the WORD of God, because in his Word you will find the Light which reveals Christ.

(cf 1st John, esp. 2:18-27, & 4:1-6) ....


19 October, 2011

I'm Desperate For You!

Some reflections on last night and this morning, as I am conscious of the fact the Lord has been more about "wrecking" me than (at least as it seems) "refreshing" me in this corporate "revival."


We sing that we are "desperate" for the presence of God, but do we really know what we're singing? I am experientially realizing that genuine revival has to start where the Lord INCREASES OUR DESPERATION. A repeated word being spoken over me these days is in essence that "demolition precedes the rebuilding"....

An analogy from losing weight - because toxins are stored in our fat cells, when we begin to lose weight, especially any significant amount, those toxins get released into our bloodstream, and we begin to experientially FEEL worse, even though we are actually being CLEANSED! These toxins MUST be unlocked from the cells where they've been stored in order to get into the body's transport system so they can be expelled, and the body can....HEAL.

So, I thank you, Lord, for the KINDNESS of your demolishing work in the idol-factory of my heart. However much it increases my DESPERATION, I receive this as your PROMISE that you WILL come and fill the empty places and bring RESTORATION!


Old-Fashioned Camp Meeting ~ Revive us, O Lord!

A Personal Recounting (written Tuesday, 10/18/11):

Unplanned, we have had three meetings so far this week, all pushing 4 hours each, and we're pressing in for another, tonight.

I am afraid I would qualify as genuinely "stiff-necked" about the whole matter. Before last night, I wrote the following note to myself - exposing an attitude of some, *ahem*, suspicion:

Heading to (church) for another night with "Revivalists" (who shall remain nameless for now). We are (I am HOPING FOR THIS) a people desiring to see God move in our midst! So far, having them here has been very reminiscent of an old-fashioned "camp meeting" ~ I find I'm holding myself in reserve; not out of deference to "tradition" but to "test" the spirits and the word being preached so as to discern if this is the word of GOD....but I am so-far feeling that my having this disposition of "wait and see what the Lord will do" has already been an object of some scorn and mockery by this bringer-of-the-word. As if being "conservative" is already a problem? (Are we spiritualizing personalities, now?) Is this akin to Jesus' WOE TO YOU, you Pharisees? And I ought to feel rebuked? Or is this akin to the "demanding spirit" I have sensed from more extreme arms of those with a more "charismatic" bent, as if to say the outward signs I might exhibit of the work the Lord is doing IN me must look THIS or that way, or they can't possibly be real....I LONG for more of God, but I will not abide being manipulated, especially if that looks only like some whipping into an emotional frenzy that is based on half-quoted Scriptures and an adrenalin-rush based zeal that has more to do with chemistry than charisma!....

You might imagine from the above, I have had to engage in not an insignificant amount of battle in my mind to let my heart "get it" - but last night, I believe the Lord stirred me. My resistance was broken (though I did not, for better or for worse, let my "guard" down) when during worship, one of our worship leaders broke out with a prophetic word, picking up from one of the themes recurring through Sunday's meetings in speaking about Jacob who wrestled with God, who was willing to be even a bit belligerent with God if it meant he receive the Lord's blessing - She began to sing, "We won't let go until you bless us!"

As the music continued, another worship leader on the opposite side of the platform began to sing as if the prophetic voice of God in response - and this picked up another thread from Sunday's meetings, the cry of the blind man who had called out to Jesus, and to whom Jesus' response was "What do you seek?" (as if it wasn't obvious? But he would make the man confess it with his own mouth!)....She began to sing, "What do you want from me? Tell me what you want from me?" and proceeded to list off one earthly desire after another, as if God through this woman's song was forcing us to consciously knock down every idol of our hearts.

"Do you want silver? Do you want gold? Do you want riches untold?...Do you want friends? Do you want fame?" and on and on it went. "What do you want from me? Tell me what you want from me!" And we lingered over the same four chords, over and over, crescendoing until as a BODY the most natural response was for our collective, worshipful cry burst out of our hearts, "WE WANT YOU, GOD! WE WANT YOU, GOD! WE WANT MORE, WE WANT MORE OF YOU!"

After what seemed an immeasurable amount of time, and untold repetitions which in a previous life would have irritated me but for some reason tonight was enlarging my heart!, the music finally decrescendoed, and we quieted....Until several individuals peppered throughout the room started laughing, a break-out kind of laughing, some of which could only be described as uncontrollable. This was and would have continued to be, for me, a distraction - even as I with much effort tried to refrain from making any wild assumptions about what was happening (is this legitimate, or is this self-indulgent? artificial to get attention?), I felt the mind-battle creeping in again - one I might not have been able to set aside if Mrs. "Revivalist" (who happened to speak before her husband got up, this time) had not taken the laughter so in stride, as though it was the most natural, Holy Ghost inspired thing, distracting as it was.

Whether her intention or not, she gave sufficient space before really saying anything of import with respect to her own heart, experience with revival, and perhaps most importantly the battles she had to fight in her own life to lay aside her expectations of HOW God would minister to the hearts of his people, so that the laughter, after several minutes, did eventually die down, with only a snickering few still shaking in their seats.

So, I intentionally chose to lay aside my own expectations of HOW God ministers to the hearts of his people, mine included, and tried to listen, with a biblically sensitive ear, keying in as first she, then her husband spoke, to various specific Bible passages with which I was familiar, (and I was chasing down the chapters and verses as they spoke to check what they were saying, did this or that really happen as they are saying?)....And I discovered that despite my familiarity, my "head" knowledge, there is MUCH I have not seen or understood in some of these well-worn paths in the pages of my Bible.

The preaching that followed began breaking up hard soil; we were freed to examine our own hearts, to recognize that we are commanded to HOLD FAST our confession, because we (like John the Baptist who sent messengers to Jesus to ask if he REALLY was the promised Messiah of God, Luke 7:18-35) are prone to LOSE our confession in a sea of doubt which is a thief (like also our own pride, or like our preconceived expectations of what it should look like for God to "show up" to his people) that seeks to steal genuine revival.

Still, we cling to the mercy of God, even as we know he pursues us, and speaks his word for our CONFIDENT EXPECTATION (just as Jesus sent a reassuring word back to John the Baptist) that he IS who he has said he is, and he will DO exactly as he has said he would do! And even now, Jesus intercedes on our behalf before the Father that we would persevere! Lord, we want YOU! and we want to see your glory, your name magnified to the ends of the earth! We want to see people RADICALLY transformed by your Gospel! Healed, delivered, set free, and turned into WORSHIPPERS for your name's sake! Halleluiah!

My mind still fights for dominance as my fledgling spirit and child-like heart are being quickened to a deeper hunger and thirst for the presence of God. This is not, despite (what I would anticipate would be) criticisms from a more doctrine-centric church-world, a battle which requires the surrender of the Word! Quite the contrary. Did I "agree" with every word the man spoke? Or that his wife spoke? Well, I'll answer that THIS way: My normal history has been to take my "discerning" (suspicious?!) ear and pick apart every wrong statement. But even as the preacher said of himself - eat the meat and, if there be any, pull out the bones. So last night, I listened instead for the "spirit" of what was being said moreso than perhaps the "letter" - because the SPIRIT was in the Gospel, and a heart cry for the salvation of lost souls and the glory of Jesus' name to the ends of the earth!

Perhaps there were a few small bones, but there was a lot of meat which nourished my spirit, increasing my expectations for this evening....

18 October, 2011

Made for a Greater Song

"WHAT IF" the text FOLLOWING "ever be filled with the Holy Spirit" in Eph. 5:18 is really Paul's explanation of HOW to be filled? Namely: "Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices [and instruments] and making melody with all your ♥ to the Lord...."

"WHAT IF" this kind of music-making and singing with thankFULLness from the ♥ is NOT the mere "emotional self-indulgence" some of us have been told it is -

"WHAT IF" this is at least one of the very ways God designed us to COMMUNE with him in our spirit?

"WHAT IF" I had not "received" the seed of this rebuke when I was young - that I ought not be so emotional in singing my ♥ out in praise and worship, with full abandon!

that, then, wasn't as self-focused, as all about "me" and "my" feelings; but instead was, perhaps, a child-like expression of genuine hunger and a chasing after God? Is it any wonder, then, that now being given "permission" to SING FROM MY TOES! would begin to have a total transforming effect on my ♥ AFFECTION for God?!

the "proper" and "respectful" and "reserved" and "orderly" singing that I grew to treasure as oh-so-reverent (not that there isn't a place for it, but it is only ONE FACET of making music in our ♥'s to God!) was in fact one of the means by which the enemy was stealing the revival of MY ♥, and I didn't even know it?

"WHAT IF" I was made for a GREATER song....